Members of the Senate today added a consumer information amendment to H.R. 3590, the Senate health bill, but they rejected a proposed amendment that would have required any Medicare program savings to be used to shore up Medicare.
The Senate was continuing to debate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., created the bill by melding health bills approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Senate Amendment 2939, which was offered by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., would require the government to collect and post data on enrollee satisfaction with the health plans to be sold be the proposed health insurance exchange system.
S.A. 2939 was approved 98-0.
Senate Amendment 2942, offered by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., sought to prevent “the implementation of new entitlements that would raid Medicare.” It would have required that the government use any savings resulting from implementing PPACA to offset PPACA spending increases and revenue reductions before starting new entitlement programs.
Senators voted 43-56 to defeat the Gregg amendment. No Republicans voted against S.A. 2942. The Democrats who voted for S.A. 2942 were Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and James Webb, D-Va.
“It seems to me that if you’re going to stand up for responsible action in the area of Medicare, if … you’re going to stand behind your word as the sense of the Senate’s have called for that Medicare money be used for Medicare and that Medicare money not be used to fund extraneous, things that are extraneous to Medicare…then you’ve got to vote for this amendment,” Gregg said in support of the amendment.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., argued that the Gregg amendment was a killer amendment. “It is designed to prevent health care reform from taking effect,” Baucus said. “If you don’t like making health insurance affordable, if you don’t like health care for the lowest income Americans, if you don’t like health care for kids, then the Gregg amendment is for you.”